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Caring Counseling May Ease Postpartum Depression
Date:1/16/2009

s and 12 months, mothers who had received counseling or therapy had greater reductions in depression than did mothers who had received usual care.

In fact, mothers who were depressed at six weeks were 40 percent less likely to be depressed at six months if they had gotten counseling or therapy, the researchers found.

Morrell's team also found that this method of dealing with depression was cost-effective. "There is no stronger evidence of an intervention to help women who have depression postnatally," she said.

In the other report, Dennis's group studied the benefit of telephone support to prevent postpartum depression in high-risk women.

In this case, 701 women who were at high risk of postpartum depression were randomly assigned to standard postnatal care or to standard care plus telephone support from women who had experienced postpartum depression themselves.

The researchers found that women who received peer support were 50 percent less likely to develop postpartum depression 12 weeks after giving birth than were women who didn't get the support. In addition, more than 80 percent of the women who got telephone support said they would recommend this type of support to a friend.

For any new mother with symptoms of depression, "providing her with telephone-based support from another mother who has experienced postpartum depression and has recovered, and has been trained, might be able to prevent the development of postpartum depression," Dennis said.

William S. Meyer, an associate clinical professor in the departments of psychiatry and obstetrics/gynecology at Duke University Medical Center, said that both reports highlight what people who work with women suffering postpartum depression see.

"These papers provide further support for what those of us who work in the field learn every single day," Meyer said. "The support of new mothers is the single best deterrent of postpartum
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